Chutney is usually made by cooking a mixture of fruit, vegetables, spices, sugar and vinegar.
While chutneys are thick, pulpy accompaniments, relishes tend to be chunkier and crisper. However, there appear to be quite a few cultural differences as to what is a chutney and what is a relish.
They are best left for a month to mature before eating.
If you have a microwave oven, it speeds up the process and keeps the colour of the ingredients better.
Proper preserving jars with single-use metal lids and screw rings are best if you are bottling fruit or vegetables, but clean mayonnaise or pickle jars can also be used. Use only glass jars.
If you intend giving away your products, smaller bottles are better. This makes your produce go further. Also, not everyone might enjoy your wares and a small quantity might be all they are going to consume.
Wash the bottles and lids thoroughly to ensure there is absolutely no residual smell of their contents. Then sterilize them. If you have a microwave this is done by pouring about 2cm of water into each jar and microwaving it on full power for five minutes. Slosh the boiling water about the jar and discard, and dry the jar by placing it upside down in a warm oven. Don’t dry it with a cloth – this will merely re-contaminate it.
The lids, even the new single-use ones, should be boiled to ensure sterility.
This basic chutney recipe is excellent for using up a variety of whatever vegetables you have quantities of.
2 kg fruit or vegetables;
500 g sugar;
500 g onions finely chopped;
250 g raisins or sultanas;
800 ml vinegar;
4 teaspoons spice (combine ground ginger, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, mustard powder, cinnamon and mixed pickling spices);
1 tablespoon salt.
Prepare fruit/vegetables according to type, then chop finely.
Place in a large saucepan with remaining ingredients and simmer gently until the chutney is the required consistency, which should take about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Pour into sterilised jars, seal and label.
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